Amid increasing numbers of novel coronavirus cases in Pakistan, tracking down the cases and affected persons has turned into a massive struggle for authorities after hundreds of cases tested positive in provinces, including a big amount of persons who had attended religious Tableeghi congregations earlier this month.
The Tableehi congregation (Ijtimah), held in Raiwind area of Lahore, an annual event held with hundreds of thousands of devotees come not only from all corner of the country, but from many foreign countries, was held on 11 March 2020.
The five-day congregation was attended by at least 250,000 persons, who departed to their respective provinces and towns on 13 March 2020, after the event was cut short due to ongoing rains.
However, after cases of COVID-19 emerged from people who had attended the congregation, rang alarm bells for the authorities, who are now on an uphill talk to track down the whereabouts of thousands, spread across the country.
Till now, hundreds of cases have been reported from all parts of Pakistan, where people, who had attended the congregation has returned to their homes.
As per Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Provincial Health Minister for Punjab province, majority of the number of COVID-19 cases, reported in the province have been from the pilgrims, who returned from Iran while the second highest number of cases are of the Tableeghi congregation persons, who have not only been tested positive of COVID-19, but have also spread the virus in their respective areas of residence.
Many towns have been completely sealed by law enforcement agencies after reports of positive COVID-19 cases emerged among people who had returned from the Raiwind Tableeghi Ijtimah on March 13.
In Islamabad, areas including Barah Kahu, Chak Shahzad and Shahzad Town have been completely sealed after dozens of people were tested positive of the virus, after returning from the Raiwind congregation.
As many Muslim foreigners also attended the congregation, at least two cases of COVID-19 were also reported from Gaza among persons who had traveled to Pakistan to attend the tableeghi congretaion in Lahore.
Many of the latest casualties reported from the country due to COVID-19, has also been among those elderly persons, who attended religious congregation in Lahore, raising serious concerns for the authorities, who are now tracking down thousands to their hometowns and sealing down their towns under suspicion of the spread, that those persons may have done in their vicinity.